Plans to restore the Wonderboom waterfall are taking shape
Plans to restore the Wonderboom waterfall are taking shape

Pretoria to get back its Wonderboom waterfall

By Sakhile Ndlazi Time of article published Nov 1, 2020

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IT HAS been said that a setback is a set-up for a comeback and that is the case for Pretoria’s once famous Die Poort waterfall in the Wonderboom nature reserve.

The water supply to keep it flowing has been shut off for more than two years after the city faced water shortages and water restrictions.

But now, finally, plans are in place to restore the waterfall which can be seen from the R101 when one heads north from the CBD alongside the Apies River.

“Last week team members who are spearheading this project came together to start planning the restoration of the waterfall,” said Xander Loubser, operational manager of Best Care emergency service.

“Measurements were taken to see what materials, like pipes and wiring, will be required to fix it. We concluded that a new pump will definitely have to be installed, as well as a new storage dam for the water to be recycled,” he explained.

One of the biggest challenges the group is facing is the issue of safety.

“The waterfall will not use any municipal water or electricity. We want to keep the process as natural as we can. To achieve this, we need to use solar panels, which in turn will be costly and we run the risk of them being stolen.”

“We need to ensure the long-term sustainability of this project, so that it’s financially viable, and so we don’t need to repair it two months down the line,” Loubser said.

Gerhard Stoop, of the department of water and sanitation in Tshwane, explained that a shunt would need to be installed in the Apies River that will supply the newly-built storage dam with water. The water will then move down the waterfall and back into the storage dam. Once the water in the dam reaches a certain point, water will again be pumped from the river to the top of the waterfall.

“Water from a natural source will be recycled the whole time. A group of students who work for the land surveyor's office are doing their practical assignments on the dam.

“They did all the measurements that will be required to estimate what the entire project will cost – a cost to be determined,” Stoop said.

View from the top: a view of the Pretoria City from Wonderboom Nature Reserve. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

The fall is part of the attraction of the Wonderboom Nature Reserve , a 200-hectares reserve which straddles the Magaliseberg. It is most famous for its wild fig tree – or Wonderboom – believed to be more than 1000 years old.

Another attraction is the ruins of the Wonderboom Fort, one of four forts built by the former Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek at the end of the 19th century to defend Pretoria against the British forces.

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